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  • Ferdous, Zannatul (2024)
    As global temperatures rise due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, it is becoming increasingly important to mitigate climate change. Agriculture, one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, has the potential for mitigation by implementing carbon sequestration practices. Biochars, carbon-rich materials derived from biomass pyrolysis, have drawn attention for their potential to sequester carbon and enhance crop growth. However, limited yield effects have been reported in boreal agricultural soils after applying pure biochars to soils. Therefore, application of activated and nutrient enriched biochar has been proposed as an amendment for getting most use of the practice due to slow release of nutrients and carbon sequestration. However, the effects of these new activated biochars on soil biota remain unknown. The study investigates the impact of acid and slurry activated biochar on earthworm community in agricultural soil in southern Finland, focusing on their implications for soil physical properties and ecosystem health. Through a split-plot designed field experiment, with biochar (applied at rate 0 t ha-1 and 20 t ha-1) being the main factor and fertilizer level the sub-plot factor, the interaction between nutrient enriched biochar and earthworm population was examined by assessing earthworms' abundance, biomass, and mean weight. There was no significant effect of the treatments on earthworm abundance, biomass, or mean weight. However, the mean weight showed a notable response to the interaction effect of biochar x fertiliser. Biomass and mean weight were negatively correlated by temperature. Among the other variables, soil water content had positive correlation with temperature. These findings highlight a possible association influenced by soil physicochemical parameters, microbial dynamics, and environmental conditions, even though biochar had no apparent impacts on earthworm density, biomass, or mean weight. In this first-ever field experiment with a high rate of acid and slurry-activated biochar applied to agricultural soil, biochar had no adverse effect on earthworm populations. Thus, the present findings confirm that the application of large amounts of biochar treated with acid and cattle slurry in Nordic agricultural soil is a safe C sequestration method for earthworms at least for a short time period. However, the long-term effect is still a knowledge gap. Addressing this knowledge gap is crucial to apply sustainable agriculture methods that enhance soil properties and health.